Integration Trouble

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ChickenGirl555, Nov 8, 2017.

  1. ChickenGirl555

    ChickenGirl555 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    (Second time posting since I don't think anybody saw the first one)
    I know I've asked the same thing a lot but I really don't want to...loose...these chicks. I'm sorry if it's annoying, but here's the story.

    I am trying to introduce new chicks to my flock of pullets (No roosters) a baby naked neck-possibly-roo (if it's a roo we will give him away when he's older) and a mix girl (Still haven't figured out what she is). We are introducing them together even though we will give the roo away when he's older. They are still small and making chick noises, but it's winter and we need them to use the flock as warmth. We can't keep them in our brooder for very long, and they don't have that many feathers yet. I can't use the chick-n-box idea because I won't have it built in time. My family wants the chicks out of the house in a few weeks, and they said they WILL just throw them in with the adults if they're not already with them. (My family doesn't understand the danger of that :hmm) I do have a dog cage, and I will do the see no touch but I can't do it for long. The pecking order is not completely established yet or isn't clear to me. I think I have an idea who the 'alpha' is but anyways when I introduced them for the first time, a couple of my hens came up and started pecking the chicks heads. Since this is my first flock and integration, I was scared, so when a hen PICKED UP the baby and it screamed, I panicked and snatched the chicks away. It is pretty cold too and they didn't have all of their feathers so I brought them into the brooder box (Which is in my house) and I haven't had time since. Should I try the see no touch? And if yes for how long? I'm kind of freaking out because I don't want to mess up and have little time since I have stuff going on and really can only do it on weekends with full supervision. Please help me out! (Sorry for such a long story)
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    Pater est Pullis likes this.
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    They still need a heat source to warm up with. Too soon for them to live full time outdoors. They are old enough for 'field trips' outside, though. Ideally, you would start them out by letting them have about 30 minutes to an hour at a time outside, near the main flock but separated. Gradually increase that time as they adjust to outdoor temps, weaning them off supplemental heat indoors at the same time. By the end of next week, they should be able to stay outside overnight, but still separated from the bigs for safety reasons. After living near the flock full time for about a week or two, you can start letting the littles interact with the bigs. But you need to make sure the bigs are no longer showing interest in the littles.
    Slow and steady is the way to a smooth integration, along with ample space for all.
     
  3. CSAchook

    CSAchook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    :goodpost: I am afraid that having the flock "keep them warm" simply will not work. Even once the adults accept the littles enough to stop attacking them, they will not act friendly. The newcomers will still be their own, separate group until they reach maturity. But junebugga has given you some very good advice on how to integrate successfully once the birds are old enough to keep themselves warm.
     
  4. ChickenGirl555

    ChickenGirl555 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My dog cage is too big to put inside their coop, so I won’t be able to block them from the Bigs. Any other ideas? I have some scrap wood that I could block the nesting
    Box off with temporarily, since my pullets don’t use it yet
     
  5. ChickenGirl555

    ChickenGirl555 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Uh oh, then I have a problem. Because her integration mate will be given away (if he turns out to be a roo). But you said until they reach maturity, then will they think of the chick as their bud, one of them?
     
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    You have a couple of misconceptions, maybe I can help.
    Your older birds will not keep your baby birds warm. However, their own feathers will keep them warm.

    Really your birds are feathered out and will do pretty good outside. If you watch a mother bird with chicks in cold weather what you will see is chicks running around outside in the cold temps, that are still downey. They run around in the cold and then take a time out, where they get under the mama bird and warm up.

    Now, often times, people think that the mama bird is supplying all or most of the heat. But she is not, she is like a blanket, she is trapping their heat around them, for the most part. Heat rises, it does not sink, so little of her heat is used.

    If you can provide even a cardboard box, an heavier duty one, like for groceries, it is more than likely enough protection in the day time. If you can add a bit of a down blanket, or hat, or even a feather duster hung upside down, so that the chicks can huddle there, they will warm right up. Experiement a bit with your hand. Add good deep bedding, protection from the wind, and something to collect their body heat, and they will be fine.

    As for introducing them to the flock, a one way gate works very well. You need a pen where they can be seen but not pursued by the flock. If they have been in a brooder, then putting them in a pen, it will take a couple of days before they begin to push outside the pen. They will catch on quickly that that is their safe zone.

    Set it up, let the big girls out of the set up. Put your chicks in the safe zone. Let them explore that area as they want, but if they come out of it, scare them back in. The will quickly catch on that is a safe place to go if they are frightened. This allows them to venture out on their terms, and retreat if the pressure is too much.

    Put them outside for a while so they do get cold, use your hand to push them into the box, so they can get warmed up. You may have to do it a couple of times. After a couple of hours, take them back to the brooder, let them get really warmed up, then back out again. A Saturday/Sunday of that, by Monday they should be good to be outside unless you have a blizzard. Monday night, they should be huddled up in the box, put the box in the coop, but close it up so they cannot get out until you get back there the next morning. Carry the box out to the safe zone.

    Within a week, I came down to find the chick eating by a big chicken, and figured they had made the flock.
     
  7. CSAchook

    CSAchook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In my experience, ( @junebuggena or @Mrs. K correct me if I am wrong!) the youngsters won't fully become part of the flock until they are adults (for females this is when they start laying eggs). The "littles" may want to roost on their own or hang out alone etc. But don't let that discourage you! It doesn't mean your integration won't work! Or that your girls (or girl) won't stay warm! Just understand that initially, the goal of integration is not for everyone to be buddies The goals is for them to be able to coexist peacefully. No fights. The buddy stage often comes much later if at all. Hang in there! You can do this! Start looking for that sturdy cardboard box (or plastic tote)!
     
  8. Sassysouth

    Sassysouth Chicken Obsessed

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    I have 1 hen and 18 chicks that are 6 weeks old and I do not trust her at all, even though she is not an aggressive hen. I have put netting up and divided my coop into 2 parts. I have more chicks coming next week and have ordered a small pet cage to keep them in, in the coop. My coop is not big, but we are making it work. I also have a smaller run, inside my run that I have kept my hen in when I couldn’t be outside with her (I am finishing a second large run for her). It has been a little overwhelming, but hopefully there is light at the end. Little chicks are a joy and a stress.
     
    Ashley McDaniel likes this.
  9. ChickenGirl555

    ChickenGirl555 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a couple small cardboard boxes that would fit in my coop, if I make the hole big enough for the Littles but too small for the Bigs, will that work as a safe zone? Edit: My coop is pretty large (There's a link on my name if you want to see it) and it has plenty space for the Littles and Bigs to share. So there shouldn't be problems with crowding! (Just wanted to clear that problem up, but if you look at my coop and think of anything I could do specifically with my set up, please let me know!)
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
    Ashley McDaniel likes this.
  10. Sassysouth

    Sassysouth Chicken Obsessed

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    I couldn’t find your picture, but here is what I did. I screwed in a piece of wood and made a Hardware Cloth lid/top. I ended up having to separate my chicks for while (hence the divider), but eventually removed it.

    ETA: my hen could see them and even sit on top watch them, but she is not accepting yet. I expect it may be Spring before I can integrate them.
     

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